A Pay-Per-View Event by ROH
After 2021’s ROH – Final Battle stopped rolling, I fully assumed the promotion was literally about to never come back. Sure, they claimed the show would return in April, and that they were reorganizing, but the signs were all there that it was the end. That’s why the shocking announcement that AEW’s Tony Khan had purchased the ailing promotion wholesale, along with it’s twenty years of footage I was pretty surprised. Everyone knew that he had helped that December show get off the ground in some capacity, and it makes me wonder if the seeds were planted then for the rescue. Time will tell what this new ROH will like like as it gets rolling, but I feel like we have an inkling here, with this being a transitionary show. New faces and old faces alike have converged on what will hopefully be a new beginning to push the show into it’s next two decades.
Sadly, a number of wrestlers present in 2021 are doing things in other promotions right now, and Tony hasn’t hammered out contracts as of yet, but I’m sure this isn’t going to be a WWE’s ECW rebrand situation – Tony seem to respect the brand too much.
If you want to get started, the preshow for this Pay-Per-View was absolutely free!
For anyone wanting to watch this, I would recommend Fite.TV. you can get some FITE credits (10 dollars I believe) with the following code: “6m6lyyn”. I’m sure there are other ways to watch it, but FITE has a solid interface and has been worth it so far.
- 1P Colt Cabana defeated Blake Christian by pinfall Singles match 8:05
- 2P AQA defeated Miranda Alize by pinfall Singles match 8:15
- 3P Gates of Agony (Jasper Kaun and Toa Liona) (with Tully Blanchard) defeated The Shinobi Shadow Squad (Cheeseburger and Eli Isom) by pinfall Tag team match 2:15
- 4P Dalton Castle defeated Joe Hendry by pinfall Singles match 9:40
- 5 Swerve Strickland defeated Alex Zayne by pinfall Singles match 11:40
- 6 Brian Cage (with Tully Blanchard) defeated Ninja Mack by pinfall Singles match 2:50
- 7 Jay Lethal defeated Lee Moriarty (with Matt Sydal) by pinfall Singles match 14:50
- 8 Mercedes Martinez defeated Willow Nightingale by submission Singles match to determine the interim ROH Women’s World Champion 12:45
- 9 FTR (Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler) defeated The Briscoe Brothers (Jay and Mark) (c) by pinfall Tag team match for the ROH World Tag Team Championship 27:25
- 10 Minoru Suzuki defeated Rhett Titus (c) by pinfall Singles match for the ROH World Television Championship 6:00
- 11 Wheeler Yuta defeated Josh Woods (c) by pinfall Singles match for the ROH Pure Championship 12:55
- 12 Jonathan Gresham (c) defeated Bandido (c) (with Chavo Guerrero Jr.) by pinfall Winner Takes All match to determine the undisputed ROH World Champion 24:55
As I’ve stated before, my methodology for this is to avoid giving arbitrary star ratings or anything resembling the typical ratings people give in wrestling reviews. I usually go through the show and pull a few things that I thought were significant or that I liked. You might think some of my choices are dumb and that’s okay – we all like different things!
Not counting the solid pre-show, this was an awesome way to start the show. I’ve seen Alex Zayne wrestle before, but never with the oomph of his performance here – it seems that against Sw3rve he put on his A game and much more. Then again, WWE definitely stifles creativity. As I’ve stated before, Sw3rve is one of my favorite high-flying wrestlers going back to his days in Lucha Underground as Killshot. Hell of a match gentlemen, I really hope they both pop up on here from time to time!
The Swoleverine Returns:
After being unceremoniously terminated from his contract with FTR, many were fearing that Tully Blanchard may be leaving AEW for good. Now, it seems, he is setting up his home base with this new ROH managing not only Jasper Kaun and Toa Liona, but a revitalized Brian Cage! I’m a big Cage fan, so seeing him potentially get this new playground is going to be awesome!
Pure No More:
Out of desperation, we saw Jay lethal do the unthinkable and go against every principle he stands for to ensure his relevance and try to climb his way back up to where he believes he was wronged. With Lee Moriarty making a name for himself everywhere he goes, perhaps Lethal saw the writing on the wall?! It will be interesting to see how the “low blow heard around the world” goes storyline-wise, but I can’t wait to see how Moriarty reacts.
I spoke about Tony Khan not having contracts ironed out as of yet, so some titles changed hands for now until everything gets put in place. I saw folks on Twitter whining about this “all the AEW guys went over the ROH guys!”, which is a crap take. Here’s the thing – why would he leave a belt on somebody that isn’t an employee? Hell, Rok-C is now a WWE employee and Deonna Purrazzo is in Impact Wrestling still! FTR vs The Briscoes was easily “Match of the NIght” and their win is more than deserved. Mercedes Martinez is now Interim Women’s Champion, Wheeler Yuta is the new Pure Champion, and Minoru Suzuki is the TV Champion. All amazing choices, and a breath of fresh air for this new direction. I do want at least Rhett Titus, The Briscoes, and Josh Woods to come back in some capacity, so fingers crossed!
Tony – Keep Commentary in Place!
The pairing of Ian Riccaboni and Caprice Coleman is the only ROH commentary team I’ve liked in a LONG time. They have great commentary and I hope they stick around.
The Main Event:
The match many have been waiting for is this unification match to make the ROH World Heavyweight Championship whole. At Final Battle, Bandido unfortunately was diagnosed with Covid-19 and had to sit the show out entirely, as a result a match between Jonathan Gresham and Jay Lethal was put in it’s place with Gresham becoming Interim champion. Both champs have been making the rounds defending their championships all over the world, and now the confusion is over. Solid match, narrowly beat out by the tag team match earlier in the show.
♫♫ Joe’s Going to killllll youuuuuu ♫♫
After the match, one of the biggest stars of ROH’s past, Samoa Joe, came out and blew the audience away. Seemingly coming out to confront an utterly insane Jay Lethal from spoiling Gresham’s win, he stared his former protégé down hopefully leading into something on Dynamite Wednesday. If Tony were smart, he would make Joe one of the main guys in charge of this version of ROH seeing that he is thirsting to have a role behind the scenes.
So far, this was the best pay-per-view I watched all weekend. The show kept the ROH spirit alive and injected some new blood into the roster. As long as this doesn’t end up turning into a third AEW Dark show, I’m down for whatever they do here, as the world is ready for a ROH not saddled by questionable management. I do want them to get some of the “regular ROH guys” under contract – for example the guys now in Impact and just about everyone on this show, but time will tell if that’s one of Tony’s priorities. If you see anything this weekend, watch FTR vs The Briscoes, as it was easily the best tag match I’ve seen all year so far.
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